The Life and Legacy of St. Patrick: A Revolutionary Figure in Late Roman History

TLDR St. Patrick, a significant figure in the collapse of the Roman Empire, left settled regions to go to remote areas like Ireland. His mission to preach the gospel in lands beyond the Roman world inspired a great missionary tradition and his legacy is celebrated on St. Patrick's Day.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 St. Patrick was a real figure who wrote two pieces of writing that provide some insight into the otherwise unknown period of the fifth and sixth centuries in Britain and Ireland.
05:09 St. Patrick is a significant figure in the study of the collapse of the Roman Empire and Late Antiquity, as he represents the trend of holy men leaving settled regions to go to remote areas, such as Patrick leaving Roman Britain for Ireland.
10:11 St. Patrick's birthplace is uncertain, but the most likely place is Kellyan, the fort of the legions in Wales, as he mentions being captured by pirates and taken to Ireland from a location on the West Coast.
15:10 Patrick miraculously makes it to the ship waiting for him, but they initially refuse to take him on and he refuses to suck the breasts of the people on the ship, which some scholars argue is a way to gain the protection of a lord in Ireland, and eventually they let him come with them, they sail for three days, journey for 28 days through a wilderness, miraculously find a herd of pigs for food, and after a total of 60 days, Patrick arrives back in Britain and becomes a bishop.
20:21 Patrick receives letters from people in Ireland begging him to come back and walk among them, and he feels a strong sense from God to go and preach in Ireland, a land that had never been part of the Roman Empire, where he converts thousands of people, including the sons of Irish kings, and establishes a church full of missionary zeal.
25:08 Patrick's confesio is both a biography and a defense against various charges, but it is also a statement of mission, as he believes he has been called by Christ to take the gospel to lands beyond the Roman world, making him a revolutionary figure in the late Roman world.
30:12 The Irish Church becomes committed to sending missions, with Irish saints going into exile and establishing a great missionary tradition that inspires others in the Anglo-Saxon Church and beyond.
35:16 The theory is proposed that St. Patrick may have been a tax exile who went to Ireland before the collapse of the Roman Empire and then returned, but it is difficult to determine the truth and we will never know for sure.
39:45 St. Bridgette of Kildare is St. Patrick's rival as the alpha saint for Ireland, and the monks of Ammar go to great lengths to elevate Patrick's status, even though he is not buried there.
44:57 St. Patrick casting out snakes from Ireland and using shamrocks to demonstrate the Trinity are both later legends that are not true, and the association of St. Patrick with purgatory was shut down by Protestants in 1632.
49:30 St. Patrick's Day has both a religious dimension and a nationalistic dimension, with Patrick being claimed by both Catholics and Protestants, and the holiday becoming a bacchanal celebration in Irish America.
Categories: History

Browse more History